Why I Love Cricket More than Baseball

While baseball is the favorite pastime in the United States, Americans are missing out by not watching cricket.

cricket-baseball-loveBaseball is the favorite American pastime. Its popularity in the United States, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Japan is enormous.

In the United States, school kids and college graduates cheer for their favorite teams in the bars or at their homes. The stadiums are full of crowds especially in Major League Baseball games.

Some go crazy when their favorite teams play in the World Series, which is equivalent to the Baseball World Cup. Teams like the New York Yankees are among the top ten richest sports franchises in the world.

However, I believe Americans are missing out by not watching and playing the gentlemen’s game, cricket.

Although the history of the game in the country can be traced as early as the 1800s, present-day cricket is large and played by immigrants only.

Growing up with a cricketing environment, I played and followed cricket since I can remember. Like any other enthusiast, I used to watch all the international matches and played with my friends in the eveningssometimes all day long.

In South Asia, cricket is more than just a game. Businesses take breaks, schools announce public holidays and stock markets fall when there is an India-Pakistan match on either side of border.

Unlike other sports cricket has three major formats: Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20.

Each of the formats has different durations, which makes the game more beautiful. My favorite format is Test, which lasts five days and sometimes in a draw when no team wins. Being the supreme form of the game, Test is played only by the 10 permanent ICC members. Its beauty lies in the temperament and class of the players, although many people don’t like it.

I first watched a baseball game in Phoenix when the Arizona Diamondbacks took on the Washington Nationals at their home venue. I had little knowledge of the game; but it took me only minutes to understand the basics sitting with my American friends.

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I loved the environment of American popular culture.

Everyone bought hot dogs and sat cheering for the Diamondbacks. But I was heartbroken to see the calm and boring nature of the game. Seeing players departing after every three pitches of a miss-hit, I knew that 80 percent of the time batters wanted to hit the ball out of the park which they failed. Throughout the game I saw only two runs scored, which is very less than the average of eight runs.

In cricket a batsman has to defend his wicket and score runs on bad deliveries.

The number of deliveries is limited in ODI and Twenty20, when they not only try to save their wickets but to score fast runs, which makes the two formats intriguing. Cricket has a round ground. The batsmen can play with all its technique and intelligence towards anywhere, while the bowler tries to pitch the ball to stop the flow of runs which can exceed to 300 in an ODI inning.

In baseball the pitcher has fewer varieties than a cricket bowler. A cricket bowler can bounce the ball on the pitch which becomes harder to play. The cricket ball has many factors on the nature of the pitch and the conditions.

A cricket match can be more intense and breathtaking in the depth of the game than baseball. I remember the intense moment of the second Ashes, played between Australia and England in 2005 in Edgbaston when England won by only two runs after five days of play. It couldn’t get better than that.

Ironically, I have never seen an international cricket match in person, but I still love it more than any other game.

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Changiz Khan Baluch is from Panjgur, Balochistan. He is a recipient of the Community College Initiative Program based in Phoenix, Arizona. Changiz is a blogger and contributing writer for The Baloch Hal and Bolan Voice. Follow him on Twitter @changizbaluch and blog:changizbaluchRead other articles by Changiz.